ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed “homerun” legislation Friday that designates baseball as the official sport of New York state.
“With the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony returning to Cooperstown after last year’s COVID postponement and New York Yankee Derek Jeter among those to be honored, this new state designation takes on even greater significance,” said state Sen. Peter Oberacker, who sponsored the legislation, in a press release.
The bill was proposed by Anne Reis’s 4th grade class at Cooperstown Elementary School. Cooperstown is the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame and is believed to be the birthplace of the sport. Those students are now old enough to enter 10th grade this fall.
“Growing up a Queens boy, a love of baseball was instilled at an early age. From the ’69 and ’86 Amazin’ Mets to 27 world championships by the Yankees and even having been the home of the Dodgers with Jackie Robinson and the Giants, New York is steeped in an expansive and diverse past with our great national past time,” Cuomo said in a press release. “The fervor of the sport is as reflective of our great state as a sport can be, bringing together diverse crowds for the love of the game. New York is the birthplace of baseball and I’m proud to finally make it our official state sport.”
“Baseball is known as our national pastime, but the game has deep roots and a rich history here in New York State. Fans from around the globe flock to Cooperstown, in my senate district, to celebrate the game,” said Oberacker. “The game continues to mean so much today—the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in storied Cooperstown, the Mets and Yankees, countless college, high school, and Little League teams—New York State’s connection to baseball is undeniable.”
Assembly Member Michael Benedetto said in a press release that “Baseball is the perfect sport to represent New York. It emphasizes teamwork and sacrifice, two principle concepts that are important during a child’s development. Everyone pulling together for the team, in essence, is a metaphor for real-life—everyone working together as one, for the betterment of the community.”
In New York, milk is the state beverage, apple is the state fruit, the snapping turtle is the state reptile, yogurt is the state snack, garnet is the state gemstone, sea scorpion is the state fossil, bay scallop is the state shell, lilac is the state bush, and striped bass is the state saltwater fish.
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Not only is New York home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown where Abner Doubleday is said to have created the sport, it has been home to four of the most popular franchises in the sport – the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, as well as the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers which moved to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively, in 1957. Despite the loss of the Giants and Dodgers, no other state has been home to more World Series titles than New York, with the Yankees winning 27 (1923, ’27, ’28, ’32, ’36, ’37, ’38, ’39, ’41, ’43, ’47, ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, ’56, ’58, ’61, ’62, ’77, ’78, ’96, ’98, ’99, 2000, ’09), and the Mets winning two (1969, ’86), along with the Giants winning five (1905, ’21, ’22, ’33, ’54) and the Dodgers winning one (1955) prior to their moves to the west coast. The Yankees were also ranked by Forbes in 2021 as being the world’s second-most valuable professional sports franchise, with an estimated value of $5.25 billion.
These teams also have a large presence in the Hall of Fame itself—59 of the 333 Hall of Famers all primarily played for New York teams. Additionally, while they did not necessarily play for New York-based teams, 33 of the 333 inductees were born in the Empire State.